Creevy leads Argentina in South Africa test
PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Hooker Agustin Creevy will lead Argentina against South Africa in the opening round of the southern hemisphere’s Rugby Championship on Saturday.
Creevy was named captain of a team also containing experienced loose forwards Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe and Juan Manuel Leguizamon.
Nicolas Sanchez will start at flyhalf at Loftus Versfeld as Argentina chases its first victory heading into its third season playing against the Springboks, New Zealand and Australia. Juan Martin Hernandez was picked at inside center by coach Daniel Hourcade.
Argentina drew 16-16 with the Springboks two years ago, still the closest the South Americans have come to a win in 12 games since joining the championship in 2012. However, that match was in Argentina. In their last test in South Africa, the Pumas lost 73-13 and were outscored nine tries to one.
Although Argentina’s forward pack is often considered its strength, Hourcade promised to place a lot of emphasis on attacking with speed against a typically physical Springboks team.
“I think it’s the only way to beat them,” Hourcade said Thursday. “A slow game would prolong the agony.”
South Africa selected center Damian de Allende for his test debut and will also start with youngsters Handre Pollard at flyhalf and Lood de Jager at lock.
World and southern hemisphere champion New Zealand plays Australia in Sydney earlier on Saturday.
Argentina: Joaquin Tuculet, Horacio Agulla, Marcelo Bosch, Juan Martin Hernandez, Manuel Montero, Nicolas Sanchez, Martin Landajo; Juan Manuel Leguizamon, Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, Pablo Matera, Tomas Lavanini, Mariano Galarza, Ramiro Herrera, Agustin Creevy (captain), Marcos Ayerza. Reserves: Matias Cortese, Lucas Noguera Paz, Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro, Matias Alemanno, Leonardo Senatore, Tomas Cubelli, Santiago Gonzalez Iglesias, Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino.
South Africa: Willie le Roux, Cornal Hendricks, Damian de Allende, Jean de Villiers (captain), Bryan Habana, Handre Pollard, Ruan Pienaar; Duane Vermeulen, Willem Alberts, Francois Louw, Lood de Jager, Bakkies Botha, Jannie du Plessis, Bismarck du Plessis, Tendai Mtawarira. Reserves: Adriaan Strauss, Trevor Nyakane, Frans Malherbe, Eben Etzebeth, Marcell Coetzee, Francois Hougaard, Morne Steyn, Jan Serfontein.